How To Make Nacho Cheese Sauce

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How To Make It

Best Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe – Football Food

See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

  • Melt butter in a saucepan and add sliced jalapeno . Let the jalapenos flavor up the butter for about 2 minutes. Remove and leave the butter in the pan.
  • Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, until you can no longer smell flour.
  • Add the milk in splashes, whisking continuously to ensure a smooth result.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, reduce to a simmer. Add cayenne, hot sauce, and paprika.
  • Reduce heat to low. If the base is too hot when the cheese is added, youll end up with a grainy consistency. Add the cheese.
  • Stir continuously until melted and smooth. Serve immediately with chips! Save leftovers for Chili Cheese Dogs.

How Can I Use This Cheese Sauce

There are so many ways to use this quick and easy cheese sauce! Of course its ideal for nachos, but thats not where it ends.

Dip chips, pretzel bites, fries, tater tots, taquitos, and any number of things in it. Pour it over enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, chicken, or rice.

This cheese sauce is great for more of a dipping nacho. But you can certainly pour it over tortilla chips and add more toppings to make the perfect nachos. Theres something about sliced jalapenos and black olives on top that makes a simple yet delicious snack!

Youll find so many ways to use this, itll be your new go-to!

All the Queso

Recipe Tips For Best Results:

  • Cooking tips: I love stirring with a flat ended wooden spoon so that I can scrape the entire bottom of the pan.
  • Cheese selection:
  • Cheese grated from a block is the best choice when making homemade nacho cheese as opposed to using pre-shredded cheese. It just melts better.
  • If you can find peppered cheddar like I used in this recipe, I think it’s the best. However, it can be hard to find. If using plain mild, medium, or sharp cheddar, you can add spice by using salsa, roasted green chile, or hot pepper sauce.
  • You can also make this recipe using pepper jack or a combination of cheeses.
  • Keep it warm: If not using all of the cheese right away, you can keep it warm in the pan on the lowest heat setting on the stove or you can transfer to a slow cooker. The crockpot method works exceptionally well when making a big batch and feeding a crowd.
  • Storage and Reheating: Leftover homemade nacho cheese sauce should be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator and used within 3-5 days . It will thicken when cold. To reheat, heat in a saucepan over low heat or in the microwave in 30 second increments on 50% power, stirring frequently.
  • Recommended Reading: What Kind Of Cheese For Quesadillas

    The Secret To Smooth Nacho Cheese Saucewithout Processed Cheese

    One painful fact of life is that no cheese melts into a smooth, creamy nacho sauce as well as processed cheese. But wait! The people at Modernist Cuisine have discovered a simple trick for emulsifying your favorite Gruyère or aged cheddar into a smooth sauce to rival Velveetas.

    Sodium citrate, an emulsifying salt, is all you need to transform a tasty block of real cheese into a creamy cheese sauce. Scott Heimendinger, the director of applied research at Modernist Cuisine, explains the process in the video above, which is part of a new series from CHOW called MDRN KTCHN. Its pretty intriguing!

    More about the series:Watch Our New Video Series MDRN KTCHN! at CHOW

    Would you ever try this recipe at home?

    Troubleshooting And Storage Tips

    Nacho Cheese Recipe (How to Make Nacho Cheese Sauce)

    To get the desired consistency, you can add ¼ cup grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese and a bit more milk. Do not use pre shredded cheese as it is coated to keep it from being sticky.

    There may be several reasons that the texture of the sauce doesnt turn out. Here are a couple common mistakes:

    • It was heated too quickly and or cooked for too long.
    • Another way to keep a smooth texture is to slowly add the milk to the roux. Whisk thoroughly and make sure that all of the roux has been mixed into the milk.
    • Your milk did not have enough fat use 2% or whole milk
    • Keep the nacho cheese warm, otherwise it may begin to harden and solidify.

    STORE leftover nacho cheese in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat.

    For more dips and sauces, check out:

    Also Check: What Is The Best Cheese

    Make This Easy Nacho Cheese Sauce

    Homemade nacho cheese sauce is super easy and so creamy. I think it tastes better than anything store bought.

    From movie night to parties, this recipe is my go to nacho cheese recipe. Give it a try and come back and leave a comment letting us know how it turned out for you. I think you will love it.

    It is so delicious that you will want to serve it at parties but simple enough for a weeknight snack. Dont you just love recipes like that? I cant wait for you to try it. It is the best!

    Ingredients You Need For Nacho Cheese

    • Sharp Cheddar Cheese: we recommend using freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
    • Cornstarch: cornstarch helps thicken the sauce.
    • Evaporated Milk: this will help lengthen your sauce!
    • Velveeta: Velveeta is key to that creamy, yummy nacho cheese sauce! Dont skip it.
    • Green Chiles: green chiles add so much flavor to this sauce. If youre looking for heat, you can use canned jalapeños.

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    Easy 5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce

    Whether you love Mexican food or not, this Nacho Cheese Sauce is guaranteed to satisfy your cravings for any occasion. Firstly, it is super easy to make. All you need is a few ingredients and about 5 minutes. Everyone can make it, whether you are an expert chef or a novice cooker. Follow the recipe steps below and see how simple this is!

    The combination of cheeses, garlic, and whipped cream makes it ultra-creamy and gooey. The aromas are out of this world, and you can easily adjust and modify the ingredients! Feel free to make it spicier by adding some freshly chopped jalapeno, or by incorporating scallions, or chopped tomatoes. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to add and experiment!

    Also, making it at home is budget-friendly, and tastes so much better than the store-bought version. You can serve it as a dip, or with tortilla chips, nachos, tacos, and veggies.

    Nacho Cheese Sauce In Under 5 Minutes

    Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce

    Making this easy nacho cheese sauce is a breeze. All you have to do is whisk those ingredients together in a saucepan, and youll have the best cheese dip ever!

    Its a mix of sharp cheddar cheese and pepper jack cheese, plus hot sauce for a little spice.

    Below in the recipe card youll find steps as well as tips and tricks for how to make nacho cheese sauce at home. Its one of my favorite cheesy recipes!

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    Can You Add Flour Instead Of Cornstarch

    Yes, however, the texture will be slightly grainy and not as thick. All-purpose flour is more coarse and contains proteins and starches. The proteins like to form gluten bonds, which thicken the sauce but not be as smooth as purified cornstarch. Use the same amount of flour as cornstarch. If you add too much, the taste will be very gritty.

    The Role Of Cornstarch

    The biggest hurdle when melting cheese is preventing it from turning into a hard clump once cooled. It needs a stabilizer to keep the sauce smooth and emulsified. I prefer to add a controlled level of cornstarch to create a physical barrier. Coating the shreds prevents the protein and fat from clumping back together and tasting greasy.

    During cooking, the starches absorb the moisture in the cheese sauce, causing the granules to swell and thicken the loose liquid. The result is a shiny, smooth, stable, and dippable consistency.

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    Can I Use Whole Milk Instead Of Evaporated Milk

    Yes, although the sauce will have a much thinner consistency because fresh milk is lower in fat, milk solids, and protein. It also doesnt contain thickening agents like carrageenan that give a velvety texture. The difference is that when the cheese sauce cools down, the whole milk version will not thicken as quickly for a slightly longer dipping time.

    Why Is It Called Nacho Cheese Sauce

    5 Minute Nacho Cheese Sauce Recipe

    Because basically its the melty cheese that is served with tortilla chips when you order nachos. It stays melty and smooth for a longer time which is perfect for dipping your chips in!

    Not to mention, its better for spreading on other dishes and mixing in with other ingredients like ground beef and chicken to make super cheesy quesadillas and burritos.

    This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

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    Storing And Reheating Leftovers

    Cheese sauce is best when its just made. As it cools, the texture begins to change and it may require extra milk to bring it back to a smooth and creamy texture.

    Storage: Let the sauce cool a bit before storing in an airtight container in the fridge. It will stay fresh for 2-3 days.

    Reheating: You can reheat in the microwave, stirring every 20-30 seconds, or over low heat in a small saucepan.

    Evaporated Milk And Why Its Key In A Cheese Sauce

    Evaporated milk is fresh milk where about 60% of the water has been removed, which makes it very thick. Its also known as condensed milk. There are two types of evaporated milk: sweetened and unsweetened. The unsweetened version is used as a thickener for soups and dips. The sweetened version is used in desserts like tres leches cake and pumpkin pie.

    Why use evaporated milk in a cheese sauce? The milk proteins in the evaporated milk help stabilize the sauce and prevent it from splitting. This helps the texture to hold up over time. We tested this evaporated milk cheese sauce against our standard cheese sauce made with butter and flour, and the nacho cheese sauce was infinitely better! Heres why:

    • Evaporated milk makes a thick, creamy and stretchy sauce. The texture is a bit more glossy and gooey than a butter and flour sauce.
    • A cheese sauce made with evaporated milk can be refrigerated and reheated. A standard cheese sauce splits when you try to reheat it. This nacho cheese sauce is ideal for keeping in the fridge, then you can microwave and eat what youd like and re-refrigerate .

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    Why Evaporated Milk Makes The Sauce More Creamy

    Evaporated milk contains two ingredients that may be unfamiliar. Dipotassium phosphate prevents the milk from turning into curds when heated. Carrageenan helps stabilize, emulsify, and thicken milk products. During testing, I noticed a more creamy smooth texture when using evaporated milk than whole milk, which gave a thinner consistency. It made the difference! You can substitute milk, but the sauce will be runnier.

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    Variations On Nacho Cheese Sauce


    Want to vary it up? Here are a few ways to make give this nacho cheese sauce different flavors:

    • Stir in diced green chilis. Add 1 4-ounce can green chilis for a spicier, chunky spin.
    • Add pico de gallo. This makes a zingy, tasty cheese dip.
    • Make it vegan. Try our amazing Vegan Nacho Cheese: its just as delicious .

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    How To Use Nacho Cheese Sauce

    There is no wrong way of using nacho cheese sauce! Just pair it up with whatever youre eating!

    Having fried chicken? Side it with some cheese sauce! Got some fries? Top em with some creamy cheese sauce! Snacking on some tortilla chips? Dip em in nacho cheese sauce! Are those nuggets? Smother them with that nacho cheese sauce! Veggies, nachos, tacos, you name it!

    I mean, you can add nacho cheese dip to anything to make it taste heavenly!

    I know youre drooling right now! So, let me get straight to the recipe!

    Using Fresh Grated Cheese

    Pre shredded cheese is not the way to go for this recipe, as fresh just tastes so much better and makes a big difference in the quality of the nacho cheese sauce.

    For a super thick sauce, just leave it on the heat a little longer, watching and stirring so that it doesnt burn.

    This nacho cheese recipe is similar to my cheddar cheese sauce recipe , but made with colby jack cheese and mexican spices to create a nacho cheese flavor.

    Recommended Reading: Where Can I Buy Cheese

    How To Make Homemade Nacho Cheese:

    Full ingredient list and detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.

  • Mix: In a small saucepan, toss the grated cheese with the corn starch. Then stir in the evaporated milk.
  • Heat: Over medium heat and whisking occasionally, within a few minutes you’ll have a warm, creamy, homemade spicy cheese sauce.
    • shredded cheese and cornstarch
    • melted with evaporated milk

    While the cheese is nice and hot, smother those tortilla chips and serve it alongside your favorite nacho fixings!

    How To Make Homemade Nacho Cheese Sauce

    Nacho Cheese Recipe (How to Make Nacho Cheese Sauce)

    This easy appetizer recipe takes just 5-10 minutes to make and its soooo cheesy! Get your dipping hand ready!

    Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.

    • Grab a medium saucepan and set it over low heat.
    • In the saucepan, toss some shredded cheddar and a few slices of American cheese with cornstarch.
    • Pour in evaporated milk and whisk it until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.
    • Stir in a can of diced jalapenos. You can use more or less for your desired heat level.

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    Nacho Cheese It Can Be

    • Easy To Make
    • Delicious & Versatile
    • Better & Less Expensive Than Store Bought

    Requiring almost zero prep, and made in a matter of minutes, this nacho cheese sauce is the perfect addition to amplify any basic dish to make it a stand-out crowd pleaser. I mean, 5 ingredients that youll most likely already have at home? Doesnt get much better than that!

    Storage And Reheating Instructions

    This nacho cheese sauce recipe is great because its so versatile. If you dont eat it all, you can refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week. This is not the case for a standard butter and flour cheese sauce, which separates when you reheat it. Heres what to know about storing nacho cheese:

    • Refrigerate for up to 1 week. The nacho cheese becomes a solid, soft when refrigerated.
    • Reheat in the microwave. Microwave on High power in 20 to 30 second bursts until its fully melted it should take 1 to 2 minutes total.

    Recommended Reading: Where To Buy Good Planet Cheese

    Whats The Deal With Evaporated Milk

    Evaporated milk is just milk thats been simmered over low heat until more than half of the water content has evaporated, so its extra creamy. Its perfect for giving you extremely creamy cheese sauces without the heaviness of using half and half or heavy cream.

    When heated together with cheese and a dash or two of hot sauce, you get something pretty magical.

    How To Reheat Nacho Cheese

    NACHO CHEESE SAUCE | How To Make Nacho Cheese Sauce 2 Ways

    The best way to reheat it would be over medium-low heat in a skillet. Let it warm up slowly until it starts melting. Then, whisk it gently and you should be ready to go.

    Also, to make it more liquid, you can add about 2 tbs of water or cream, then stir gently. This will make it thinner. Alternatively, if you want it more consistent, add some shredded cheese to it, and whisk as well.

    Reheating it in the microwave is not recommended.

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    Spicy Nacho Cheese Sauce

    This is my favorite recipe for cheese dipping sauce. This spicy nacho cheese sauce is absolutely awesome with veggies, soft pretzels, and nachos! None of that processed stuff, either.

    Seriously! What is better than a bowl of silky, creamy, spicy nacho cheese sauce? Nothing. A far cry from processed, this spicy nacho cheese sauce is to die for. I love serving it with soft pretzel bites or pouring on top of a big bowl of broccoli. Its how I get everyone to their vegetables. Just kidding but not really.

    Making nacho cheese sauce at home is not difficult. Its actually one of the easiest and quickest little recipes around. There is no excuse to buy anything from a can or from a jar. Homemade cheese sauce, made from real sharp cheddar cheese, is the only way to go. Plus, it tastes worlds better.

    I love serving this spicy nacho cheese sauce right from the stove when its warm. But this cheese sauce keeps well covered tightly in the refrigerator for about 1 week. Just heat it up before serving its a great item to make ahead before the guests arrive.

    Making Your Own Vs Buying

    • Tastes cleaner, better than store bought. No sticky mouth or weird after taste here
    • You know exactly what’s going into the sauce which is just eight ingredients. No chemicals, stabilizers etc
    • You can make it your own. Play around with the flavours – add some chiles or jalapenos or extra mustard or even leave the garlic out
    • It only takes TEN minutes to make!

    Have I convinced you yet?

    Here’s a quick picture of all the ingredients you need for the cheese sauce:

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